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Tzveta Sofronieva

Studied physics and took her doctor's degree in philosophy. Her poems were published in newspapers and magazines. After a long struggle with the bureaucracy and using her parents' savings, Tzveta travelled to North America and Western Europe. At international poetry meetings in Canada and Britain she was immediatey accepted and encouraged

The Great Salvation


The spider-nets hid in the Black Sea

and are now a species of algae.

The sun-glasses of the children on the beach

compete for color with their shorts.

A loud-speaker invites us with thunder

to visit the Carnival on Central Beach.

The sea is smiling slowly.

Foam after foam enters ashore.

It's white. Today the foam is clear.

No admix of beige from sand or spiders.

With white words the sea will tell at last That Secret.

Oh, what happiness to live up to it! And to be present.

But we all know. Last night we all dreamt of

the infantile faces of our grandmothers,

dead long ago: we are ready for the conversation.

The kids who disliked the sea now toddle in it.

The kids who always liked it went crazy and out of joy

bail out of the water clams and small fish.

The fathers swim far off.

All little women learn at least not to sink.

Mothers and brave girls forget to grieve and look forward.

The Secret. The sea smiles in white slowly.

The waves rise and rise - bosom of a young mother.

Oh, isn't it time for the red, even for a black flag7

The life-guards rush in -

they will stop the sea itself with their whistles.

A female voice screams through the loudspeaker:

"It's absolutely forbidden to swim!

Absolutely forbidden to bathe!

Absolutely forbidden to enter the sea!

Absolutely forbidden!!!"

I enter the sea deep inside with The Life-Guard Himself.

It was easy before and I waited on shore reading books

diligently. He permits me to enter with condescension.

The children of both types do not obey -

they throw colored things on the shore:

the pants, the shorts, the sunglasses. The adults,

mostly the mothers, stay in the water.

Life-saving whistles whizz. O.K.! O.K.!

I stay 'brown by the foam - oh, if only

my knees could melt a bit to a less sexy form.

But stop it! Enough! I am fed up with talking politics!

The life-guard is apologizing - it was

an order from Central Beach, because of the children -

not to drown. I too am forbidden.

The life-guards must answer to a superior lifeguard

Helicopter (which roars more loudly than the sea).

Where does it land? It stinks of fuel and oil.

Oh, sea, and you complained against sun-oils!

The beach becomes deserted.

Did the tourists go or did they resettle in the sea?

Ah, here they are, under the solar showers.

And the children with their grandmothers' faces (from last

night's dream) are looking in surprise at my knees. Music.

Pop-music from all over around (what chatter!).

The spider-webs gnaw at the sea and entwine with it.

translated from Bulgarian

Belin Tonchev

Last modified: December 30, 1997